Thomas Register's Industrial Purchasing Barometer survey (IPB) for July found that more than half of industrial buyers identify personal interaction, including direct sales and networking/referrals, as the most powerful marketing tool.
Asked to choose the marketing activity that has yielded the largest return on investment during the past year, respondents cited:
- Direct sales, 32%
- Networking/referrals, 21%
- Online outreach, 15%
- Trade shows, 11%
- Advertising, 9%
- Other, 7%
- Direct mail, 5%
"While there is growing recognition of the Internet's value, personal touch remains a vital component of doing business," said Monica Lavin, director of electronic commerce services for Thomas Register.
The survey also found 55% of industrial buyers saying they were increasing purchases this year compared with last. Decreased purchases were reported by 31%, while the remaining 14% said their purchasing level was about the same.
The survey was conducted randomly among Thomas Register's pool of 760,000 opt-in online users. Respondents came from the manufacturing and engineering industries, wholesale-distribution and government buyers. Thomas Register has a long history of monitoring the psyche of industrial buyers. Its monthly IPB Barometer tracks the changing attitudes and behavior of the industrial purchasing community.